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Uncovering the Secrets in Snapchat’s Privacy Statement

 

Uncovering the Secrets in Snapchat’s Privacy Statement

Whenever we download apps, like Snapchat, there is always a long privacy statement that you are encouraged to “read” and accept the terms and conditions before using it. However, most people (including me) just scroll through all the terms and conditions and press accept without reading anything it says. I have never actually taken the time to read through it all and have gotten in the habit of just trusting that app’s like Snapchat have good intentions. However, after reading the whole privacy statement for Snapchat, I have learned that I am very wrong to assume that. While reading it, I learned many new things that come as a surprise to me and have developed a fear in me because of the lack of privacy I have. First of all, Snapchat has a record of everything you have ever sent to people, your whole entire contact list, your camera roll, your location with GPS services, what type of phone and data you have, and what ads you visit by cookie use. After reading all the things I have unknowingly handed over to the corporate offices of Snapchat, I wonder if I would have pressed accept in the first place to their terms and conditions. On their privacy policy, Snapchat answers the question most people are probably asking by the time they figure out how publicized their personal information is: What do they do with the information they have collected? The answer is: to “provide you with an amazing set of products and services that we relentlessly improve.” Sounds great! But I know they are hiding the fact that they are doing this for personal gain and to profit off of personal information and advertisements of their users. Branding and advertising in the age of social media have put users in their own filter bubble of ads that reflect previous searches, purchases, likes, and followers. Our privacy has been taken over by big companies like Snapchat for them to use and capitalize on our personal information. They say all these invasions of privacy are about enhancing the user’s experience, but is it making it worse? As discussed in class, there are certain benefits and disadvantages for personalized advertisement, but the loss of privacy makes none of it worth it. Not only do they use our information for profit, but they also share it with service providers, business partners, and third parties if there are legal issues or if there is a merger or acquisition. Snapchat’s believes it is an app that “lets you capture what it’s like to live in the moment,” but how long are they keeping these photos and videos after they are supposedly deleted after 24 hours or opened by the recipients? It is scary to think that all of our photos and videos are in the hands of the corporate offices of Snapchat. After reading this, it makes me want to delete my account. But, even if I wanted to delete my account, Snapchat says they will wipe “most of the information we’ve collected about you.” As much as I would like to take all my personal information back from Snapchat, it is impossible to do. That is the price we pay for social media, and it is now imperative that we take the time to read over term and conditions to see what we are getting ourselves into before we hit accept.

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